Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

Pinched Nerve Due To Desk

About a week ago I bought a really nice solid wooden table for a song in a second hand store. Hauling it home was quite the job, the thing weighs a ton. Fortunately the legs came off otherwise I’d still be standing in front of the staircase with it. After two days of working I noticed that the pinky and ring finger on my left hand felt numb and wouldn’t move the way they normally do. This is worrisome, my ability to type is part of my bread and butter and when it got worse the next day I figured I should do something about it.

Numbness usually indicates something is not ok with the nervous system so I started googling for what it could be and after a while I found this wikipedia article on Ulnar Nerve Entrapment. Which pretty much matched all my symptoms. And so I ended up suspecting that my nice shiny old-but-new-for-me table may be the culprit.

And it turns out this is the case! Because of the height of the table the angle at which my arms rest against it is a little bit different than what I’m used to, which causes the weight of my arms to rest partially on my wrists. That’s pretty normal, but instead of resting on a surface they now rest against the edge of the table. It doesn’t feel unpleasant so I was’t worried about it at all but it just so happens that right at that spot the nerve passes relatively unprotected and this mild pressure is enough to pinch the nerve.

So, heighten the chair and the symptoms are already getting less. What surprises me is that I never had any of this before and the speed with which it got worse. Let’s hope the recovery will be complete and that it will continue at the same speed. So, if you have a numbness in your pinky and index finger better check the height of your table or, if you are a cyclist, how your arms rest against the handlebars if you have those fancy curved ones.